Sun, Jan 01, 2012 - Page 3 News List

2012 ELECTIONS: Overseas media switches focus to Taiwan’s elections

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

In the run-up to the Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections, an overseas Taiwanese group urged international bodies, governments and non-government al organizations to send observers to Taiwan to “observe, ensure and certify” a free election and transfer of power.

“We urge that the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Japan, other concerned governments and non-governmental organizations send observers to [the election in] Taiwan,” the Greater New York Region Overseas Taiwanese Pen Club said in a statement.

The group recently issued an urgent declaration on the election, in which it urged “a peaceful transfer or maintenance of government power” after the election and “condemned any attempts at creating social and political upheavals that will provide pretexts for Chinese political and military interventions.”

“We urge that the [presidential and legislative] elections of Jan. 14, 2012, be truly free and independent. We strongly oppose any outside interference and threats, especially those from China,” the statement said.

Journalists from foreign media outlets and international academics interested in cross-strait relations and democracy are gearing up to report on or observe the first ever combined top-level elections in the country, government officials said yesterday.

According to the Government Information Office (GIO), between 500 and 600 foreign journalists have signed up to cover the event, fewer than the presidential election four years ago, but more are expected to submit their registration requests after the New Year holiday.

Owing to budget constraints, the number of foreign reporters and academics on election observation missions sponsored by the government is lower than in the past, said a GIO official who wished to remain anonymous.

However, he said he expected many academics would be -involved in the election at their own expense.

At the invitation of various government and affiliated agencies, the Association of Asian Election Authorities, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala and the Washington-based Community of Democracies, a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries, will observe the election first hand, along with other US think tank leaders, including Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former director of the American Institute in Taiwan, and Alan Romberg, director of the East Asia program at Stimson and a former US Department of State official.

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